Dirty Minds: The Neurobiology of Love

Kayt Sukel: I think that the revolution in neuroscience is sort of happening in two fronts.  One, is the study of epigenetics, and the best way to think of the epigenome is that if the – our genomes, our DNA, is the hardware of a computer, our epigenome is the software.  So it’s actually sort of telling our DNA how it should be expressed, how much of a particular protein should be expressed and at what time during our life.  And the epigenome is heavily influenced by our environment and not just our environment, our parents’ environment and their parents’ environment.  Some of the software programs are so embedded that they make these changes that last for generations, others for just a small period of time. 

So, the revolution is really coming in understanding that there is no more nature vs. nurture debate.  Nature and nurture are intertwined; they’re really impossible to separate.  And as we look at our study of brain and behavior, we need to understand that there is no behavior, there is no biology, outside of the environment.

And then the second point, I think, in neuroscience, for a long time, we’d been gender blind.  So many studies, for many reasons, have only focused on males of the species or have not compared men and women, and they haven’t compared male and female brains.  And although it’s quite controversial--and for whatever reason, people want to take different to mean smarter or better--I don’t think that we can ignore anymore that male and female brains have certain circuits that are sexually dimorphic the same way that we have downstairs regions that are different.  We have some upstairs regions that are different as well.  And, moving forward in the study of neuroscience, we’re going to have to really pay attention to the fact that there are these differences, to understand what they mean for behavior.

Directed / Produced by

 Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

 

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

Lair of giant predator worms from 20 million years ago found

Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.

Credit: Jenny – Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
  • The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
  • The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
Keep reading Show less

What is the ‘self’? The 3 layers of your identity.

Answering the question of who you are is not an easy task. Let's unpack what culture, philosophy, and neuroscience have to say.

Videos
  • Who am I? It's a question that humans have grappled with since the dawn of time, and most of us are no closer to an answer.
  • Trying to pin down what makes you you depends on which school of thought you prescribe to. Some argue that the self is an illusion, while others believe that finding one's "true self" is about sincerity and authenticity.
  • In this video, author Gish Jen, Harvard professor Michael Puett, psychotherapist Mark Epstein, and neuroscientist Sam Harris discuss three layers of the self, looking through the lens of culture, philosophy, and neuroscience.
Keep reading Show less

Massive 'Darth Vader' isopod found lurking in the Indian Ocean

The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.

SJADE 2018
Surprising Science
  • A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
  • It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
  • The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
Keep reading Show less

Discovery of two giant radio galaxies hints at more to come

The newly discovered galaxies are 62x bigger than the Milky Way.

I. Heywood, University of Oxford / Rhodes University / South African Radio Astronomy Observatory / CC BY 4.0.
Surprising Science
  • Two recently discovered radio galaxies are among the largest objects in the cosmos.
  • The discovery implies that radio galaxies are more common than previously thought.
  • The discovery was made while creating a radio map of the sky with a small part of a new radio array.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast